Where's the Beef?
Don't worry about that SUV you drive. Worry about that steak. Beef has now been identified as a prime cause of Global Warming according to a New Scientist report. "2.2lb of beef is responsible for greenhouse gas emissions which have the same effect as the carbon dioxide released by an ordinary car travelling at 50 miles per hour for 155 miles, a journey lasting three hours. The amount of energy consumed would light a 100-watt bulb for 20 days. Most of the greenhouse gas emissions are in the form of methane released from the animals' digestive systems, New Scientist magazine reported."
The problem I have with this chain of reasoning is that animal digestive systems also work in the wild. The herds of wildebeest, the trumpeting groups of elephant, why even the magnificent herds of bison, which covered grasslands to the horizon, were if returned are from a certain point of view nothing but climate criminals on the hoof. But since wildlife has a higher utility value to environmentalists than a barnyard animal, they are unlikely to call for a massive cull of the animals in the Serengeti. So obviously some animals must live while others must not be so allowed. (Including homo sapiens, if the Optimum Population Trust is to be believed) Logically then, we should be able to calculate some allowable level of sustainable farting consistent with a Global Warming Model and cut back animal life; and therefore their methane emissions to the desired level. If, after having gotten rid of all the livestock (are cattle drovers in Africa included in this proscription, I wonder?) there is still too much methane being released, then it stands to reason that we should hand out the hunting licenses to keep the farting down.
But wait? How do we optimize the level of methane. What is our objective function? Gaia doesn't tell us. So we will have experts make it up and then we fiddle with the variables to attain the theoretical optimum -- based on whatever theory we choose to adopt. And then we find that environmentalism becomes functionally indistinguishable from Soviet Central Planning, except that its targets apply to the birds and the bees. Oh, and to us too.